This may not be the best forum to ask the following - so let me know if I have this wrong and let me know how best to proceed. (FYI I'm in Australia and using Joomla 3.5.1)

I have been looking around for ages for a tool to manage our member bands individual membership records and history and have tried to get my head around how CiviCRM can help solve the issues with our current MS Access DB (i use that term very loosely) to record details about each band's members and the bands' financial status with the state governing body. Best thing that attracted me to CiviCRM was the auditing of changes :)

our organisation, at a state level, consists of a governing body for the state with member 'bands'. Bands can be 1 of 4 types and an individual can be a member of only one band for each of the types (most members are a member of only 1 or 2 of the band types).

Qu 1: Should I be using 'Organisations' for each of the Bands or should I use Groups.

Qu 2: Memberships are paid (manually) by bands on a yearly basis. Individuals of a band are regarded as 'paid and active' if the band to which they are associated has paid the fee - their are no 'individual' membership fees payable. How would I go about setting up the CiviMembership extension to do this? I have gone so far as creating one Band and an individual who has a relationship to that band - but not sure where to go to next.

Qu 3: We also have several awards for bands and individuals which we wish to track. Should I be using tags, groups or custom field to record this information. We want to be able to record the type of award and the date it was given.

  • Band in this context is a music group - brass band, school band, concert band. also is it possible to have sub-sub types like Band -> Brass -> Junior? although I could 'code' that into the first sub-type ie Brass-Junior
    – DMOZ
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 23:14

2 Answers 2


It took me a minute to get my head around this because I'm not sure what a "band" is in your context - I haven't seen the word used that way before. However, I realized that I could answer your questions regardless.

Question 1: Bands should be recorded as organizations - possibly as an organization subtype, but if they're the primary type of organization you track, that may be unnecessary. The reason to track them as organizations is...

Question 2: This allows you to use CiviMember to track memberships for individuals based on whether the band is in good standing. You're correct to create a relationship between individual and band. Now - when defining membership types (Administer menu > CiviMember > Membership Types), you must set the "Relationship Type" to match the relationship type you used to connect the individuals to the bands. This will automatically extend a band's membership to an individual.

Question 3: I would actually argue that if you need to track both type and date, a new activity type "Award" is most appropriate. Groups and tags won't let you record the date the award was given. Custom fields would, but you could only issue one award per individual unless you used multi-record custom fields, which are awkward and best avoided. However, activities actually fits quite nicely and will report well.

  • 2
    Need to listen to more music Jon? :-). Totally agree with prescription but think that 2/ needs nuancing so it is clear the relationship should be the name of the Relationship from the Org side, not the individual. ie if it was Employee/Employer then choose the latter 'relationship type'. (or maybe my eyes are tired and it already reads that way to others)
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 6:15
  1. Record bands as organizations.

  2. The bands are members in your organization, and individuals are members of the bands. Make sure to define the contact types for your custom relationship 'Is a member of the band' / 'band includes member' (at Admin > Custom Data and Screens > Relationship Types) so that one is an individual and the other is an organization, and set the membership to be inherited through this relationship type when you create the membership type for the bands at Admin > CiviMember > Membership Types. Also, on the Title and Settings tab of the Contribution Page you are using to sell memberships, ensure you enable ' Allow individuals to contribute and / or signup for membership on behalf of an organization?'

  3. Use a custom 'Award' activity, configured at Admin > Custom Data and Screens > Activity Types.

  • Joe - 2/ seems to be missing the 'inherited membership' part of the question "Individuals of a band are regarded as 'paid and active' if the band to which they are associated has paid the fee"
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 18:35
  • Thanks for the info Joe I created the new Activity Type - Award which i can now add to a contact. Wish there was more control over the information displayed for an Activity. In this case, given that we will create Activity Types for each of the types of award (eg 10year, 25year, life member) the only details we need to actually record is the Activity Name & date.
    – DMOZ
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 23:10

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